Cognitive and Executive Function Skills

What are Executive Function Skills?

The Executive Function & Social Emotional Skills (included in the Urban Champions program) are a set of skills needed for engaging in independent, purposeful, goal-directed behaviors. (See Lezak, Howieson, & Loring 2004.)

There are eight Executive Function Skills that Eight critical skills to achieve effectiveness and life-time success:

  • Emotional control
  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Monitoring
  • Self-control
  • Shifting
  • Working memory

What do the experts say about Executive Function Skills?

No one told the brain that executive function skills were a separate enterprise. It's all unified.
Put another way:

  • You have to feed good information to the highest levels of the brain.
  • If not, the brain will become fuzzy and trashier, and brain will be less than useful.
  • The degradation of speed and reliability of operations in complex processes in thought common to struggling kids is due to their “mental machinery” operating at a subpar way on all levels.

- Comments from our partner from Posit Science who created BrainHQ, Dr. Michael Merzenich.

“You have to TRAIN the entire brain. “It makes most sense to begin by sharpening things for them (student's) at a more elemental level, because higher functions don't go anywhere when all they received from those lower levels is garbage.

When the brain is ready for it, THEN you pound on ‘executive skills.’ About 40% of our training programs do this – they pound on the ‘executive skills’ so that kids cultivate learning skills for life.”

personal empowerment Dr. Michael Merzenich